The Truth About Cars » Italian Sports Cars http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com The Truth About Cars is dedicated to providing candid, unbiased automobile reviews and the latest in auto industry news. Sun, 27 Jul 2014 20:45:49 +0000 en-US hourly 1 http://wordpress.org/?v=3.9.1 The Truth About Cars is dedicated to providing candid, unbiased automobile reviews and the latest in auto industry news. The Truth About Cars no The Truth About Cars editors@ttac.com editors@ttac.com (The Truth About Cars) 2006-2009 The Truth About Cars The Truth About Cars is dedicated to providing candid, unbiased automobile reviews and the latest in auto industry news. The Truth About Cars » Italian Sports Cars http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/wp-content/themes/ttac-theme/images/logo.gif http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com Junkyard Find: 1981 Alfa Romeo Spider http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/07/junkyard-find-1981-alfa-romeo-spider/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/07/junkyard-find-1981-alfa-romeo-spider/#comments Wed, 02 Jul 2014 13:00:09 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=856321 13 - 1981 Alfa Romeo Spider Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinPrices for (non-164) Alfa Romeos have been getting somewhat crazy in recent years, but it’s still possible to get a restorable 1970s or 1980s Spider for non-insane bucks. The proof of this is that rougher examples still show up now and then at the self-service wrecking yards I frequent. In this series so far, we’ve seen this ’74, this ’78, and now today’s ’81.
01 - 1981 Alfa Romeo Spider Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinThe interior is ugly, but it doesn’t show the atomic-testing-grade obliteration that Colorado convertibles get when left outside for years with no top.
07 - 1981 Alfa Romeo Spider Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinAlfa Spiders love to rust, even in single-digit-humidity Colorado.
06 - 1981 Alfa Romeo Spider Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinNot worth restoring, but a good parts car.
11 - 1981 Alfa Romeo Spider Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinIts final parking place is next to a Mazda RX-7.

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Junkyard Find: 1978 Alfa Romeo Spider http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/05/junkyard-find-1978-alfa-romeo-spider/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/05/junkyard-find-1978-alfa-romeo-spider/#comments Mon, 19 May 2014 13:00:29 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=825178 11 - 1978 Alfa Romeo Spider Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinWhile Fiat 124 Sport Spiders are commonplace in junkyards, the Alfa Romeo Spider has remained sufficiently valuable that few examples make it to the kind of self-service, high-inventory-turnover wrecking yards I frequent for this series. We’ve seen this ’74 and that’s it prior to today (though I have passed by a few junked Alfa Spiders that were picked clean before I got there). The Alfa Spider was more expensive than the Fiat Spider when new— in 1978, the Alfa listed at $9,195 (about the same as a new ’78 BMW 320i), while the Fiat cost a mere $6,495 (just a bit more than a Volkswagen Scirocco)— and American Alfa Romeo fanatics have always been more maniacally obsessed than Fiat fanatics. Here’s an unrusted, not-yet-completely-stripped ’78 that I found in a San Francisco Bay Area yard a couple months back.
02 - 1978 Alfa Romeo Spider Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinOutdoor storage with no top in Northern California, with its sunny summers and rainy winters, tends to be rough on car interiors, and not much was worth saving out of this Alfa.
03 - 1978 Alfa Romeo Spider Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinThe 111-horse, 1,962cc Twin Cam engine is still there.
08 - 1978 Alfa Romeo Spider Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinThe giant 5-mph crash bumpers looked pretty ugly on small cars during the Malaise Era.
12 - 1978 Alfa Romeo Spider Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinSpica mechanical fuel injection! This system worked amazingly well given all the moving parts.
20140113_135806When I find a rear-wheel-drive Alfa Romeo with any good stuff on it, I always call my friend Conrad Stevenson to see if he needs anything. Conrad runs an amazing Alfa restoration shop in Berkeley, uses a ’58 Fiat 600 Multipla as his parts runner, and races a profoundly terrible (yet fast) Spica-equipped Spider in the 24 Hours of LeMons.
IMG950181Conrad burned rubber right over to this Oakland wrecking yard (in his ’64 Ford Ranchero, which he uses for hauling parts too big for the Multipla) and grabbed the rear end, the transmission, and a bunch of smaller goodies. The Alfa Mafia is strong in the Bay Area, and no doubt many of Conrad’s fellow capos swooped down on this car during the next few days and vultured it down to a bare shell.

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Junkyard Find: 1976 Fiat 124 Sport Spider http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/02/junkyard-find-1976-fiat-124-sport-spider/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/02/junkyard-find-1976-fiat-124-sport-spider/#comments Tue, 25 Feb 2014 14:00:42 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=753777 06 -1975 Fiat 124 Spider Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinSo many Fiat 124 Sport Spiders get junked, and the process has been going on for my entire junkyard-prowling career. In the three years of this series, we’ve seen this ’71, this ’73, this ’75, this ’78, and this ’80, and we might as well add the 124′s little brother, this ’71 850 Sport Spider. I don’t even photograph every 124 Sport Spider I see, because they’re almost as common in wrecking yards as ’85 Camrys. Today’s ’76, however, holds the Junkyard Find record for Scariest California Beach Neighborhood Rust.
13 -1975 Fiat 124 Spider Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinCars that live within a block or two of the Pacific Ocean in Northern California (I found this car in one of my favorite East Bay yards during a recent drive around California in a new Mirage) often rust in a weird top-down pattern. For example, the truly frightening ’84 Toyota Van we saw last October. California cars with bad weatherstripping often rust inside the trunk, as water leaks in and sits for months during the long, rainy winters. This Fiat managed to rot from both types of California rust.
01 -1975 Fiat 124 Spider Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinHow does this even happen?
17 -1975 Fiat 124 Spider Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinThis car comes from the era of separate emissions requirements for new cars sold in California.
10 -1975 Fiat 124 Spider Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinI have quite a collection of these SLOW DOWN lights, which were used to warn of an overheating catalytic converter (presumably the CATALYST indicator light warned of some other cat problem). Ferrari 328s had them, too.
14 -1975 Fiat 124 Spider Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinDefinitely not worth restoring, but maybe someone will grab the Twin Cam engine for a nicer Fiat.
IMG_2237Given how cheap these cars are, we see surprisingly few 124 Sport Spiders in the 24 Hours of LeMons. I can think of a couple of Twin Cam-powered examples, and then there’s the Volkswagen TDI-powered Smokey Unit Fiat. This car is pretty quick, but its real advantage in endurance racing is its tremendous range on a tank of diesel.
19 -1975 Fiat 124 Spider Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinThe last owner of this Fiat was against Proposition 86.

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Junkyard Find: 1980 Fiat 124 Sport Spider http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2012/06/junkyard-find-1980-fiat-124-sport-spider/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2012/06/junkyard-find-1980-fiat-124-sport-spider/#comments Sun, 10 Jun 2012 13:00:50 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=447823 In all my years of snouting around in junkyards, one thing has remained constant: a sprinkling of Fiat 124 Sport Spiders. They were fairly common in junkyards in 1983, and they’re just about as common now. Where do these Fiats come from? Will the supply of forgotten project 124 Spiders ever run out? Here’s the lastest example, a fuel-injected ’80 I found in a Denver self-service yard.
Fiat switched from a carburetor to Bosch fuel injection in 1980. The 1995cc Fiat Twin Cam made 86 horsepower in 1980, which beat the hell out of the final-year MGB’s 62.5 horsepower (I can’t resist comparing all Malaise Era cars to the MGB, because of that hilarious half-horsepower).
This one has a not-so-terrible interior, which means it was stored indoors prior to its final tow-truck ride (the Colorado sun can obliterate a convertible’s interior in a single summer).
I’m assuming these garish stripes were added on after the car’s initial purchase, but you never know with Malaise Era machines.

14 - 1980 Fiat Spider Down On the Junkyard - Pictures courtesy of Murilee Marting 01 - 1980 Fiat Spider Down On the Junkyard - Pictures courtesy of Murilee Marting 02 - 1980 Fiat Spider Down On the Junkyard - Pictures courtesy of Murilee Marting 03 - 1980 Fiat Spider Down On the Junkyard - Pictures courtesy of Murilee Marting 04 - 1980 Fiat Spider Down On the Junkyard - Pictures courtesy of Murilee Marting 05 - 1980 Fiat Spider Down On the Junkyard - Pictures courtesy of Murilee Marting 06 - 1980 Fiat Spider Down On the Junkyard - Pictures courtesy of Murilee Marting 07 - 1980 Fiat Spider Down On the Junkyard - Pictures courtesy of Murilee Marting 08 - 1980 Fiat Spider Down On the Junkyard - Pictures courtesy of Murilee Marting 09 - 1980 Fiat Spider Down On the Junkyard - Pictures courtesy of Murilee Marting 10 - 1980 Fiat Spider Down On the Junkyard - Pictures courtesy of Murilee Marting 11 - 1980 Fiat Spider Down On the Junkyard - Pictures courtesy of Murilee Marting 12 - 1980 Fiat Spider Down On the Junkyard - Pictures courtesy of Murilee Marting 13 - 1980 Fiat Spider Down On the Junkyard - Pictures courtesy of Murilee Marting Zemanta Related Posts Thumbnail ]]>
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Junkyard Find: 1977 Fiat 124 Sport Spider http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2012/02/junkyard-find-1977-fiat-124-sport-spider/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2012/02/junkyard-find-1977-fiat-124-sport-spider/#comments Wed, 29 Feb 2012 14:00:15 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=432165 After yesterday’s yesterday’s ’71 Fiat Junkyard Find, we should check out the slower, uglier version of the 124 Sport Spider that resulted from Fiat’s attempts to meet American safety and emission standards. Fiat did a better job than British Leyland in this department (e.g., black-bumper MGB, Malaise Spitfire), but that’s clearing an extremely low bar.
As I mentioned yesterday, there appears to be an unlimited supply of forgotten 124 Spider projects in the garages and back yards of America, which results in a steady trickle of these cars showing up in junkyards. Every year since the early 1980s, the number of junked 124 Spiders remains pretty much constant. Of course, you don’t see them on the street these days, but you really didn’t see many 25 years ago, either.
If there are any Denver-area restorers who haven’t abandoned their 124 Spider projects, this intact spare-tire hardware will be a nice find.
Even though these cars were really fairly terrible, I must admit they are a lot of fun to drive. Fiat was very good at making slow cars feel fast.

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